Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.

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Good Cabbage Rolls

After coming back from Russia, I had to learn to make cabbage rolls that didn’t taste like the nastiness from my childhood. This recipe combines an Emeril recipe with some ingredients from a Russian cookbook I purchased, and the results were awesome. Ok, awesome except for the resulting middle-of-the-night-gastrointestinal-distress. Don’t make this for a date.
Cabbage Rolls
Serves: 12 to 15 rolls
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes and their juices
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 large head cabbage, cored and scalded in hot water until soft and easy to separate
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 pounds ground sirloin
1 pound ground pork sausage
1 1/2 cups par-boiled long-grain white rice
2 eggs, beaten slightly
2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
1 cup prunes, reconstituted in hot water and chopped
½ tsp salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Sour cream and chopped dill, for serving


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Separate the cabbage leaves and remove the hard spine from each leaf. Spread on paper towels and pat dry. Set aside.

To make the stuffing, in a medium skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until very wilted and starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until for 1 minute. Add prunes, and cook 1 additional minute. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Lay the cabbage leaves, rib side down, on a flat work surface. Remove rib or shave down leaf to make leaf easy to roll.

In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, rice, eggs, Essence, salt, pepper, and cooked onions. Mix well with a heavy wooden spoon or your hands.

Line a large baking dish or roaster with remaining cabbage leaves. One at a time, spoon the filling into the center of the cabbage leaves, about 1/4 cup in each, depending upon the size of the leaves. Roll each into a neat cylinder and place in a single layer in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, stacking the cabbage packages, as necessary. Pour sauce over the rolls, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake until the meat is cooked through and the rolls are tender, about 2 hours.

Remove from the oven and serve the rolls with any remaining sauce spooned over the top, if desired. Top with sour cream and chopped dill.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup


Risotto all'Amarone with Wild Duck Soffritto and Morlacco Fonduta

Ok, guys, don’t let the long name put you off. Basically, this is risotto made with a deep, fruity red wine, seared duck breast and a sharp fat-bomb sauce drizzled all around. A little bit of time involved for the setup, but it's well worth it. Amarone is probably my favorite wine, and this recipe was why I purchased the cookbook, "The Good Grape" by Bruno Barbieri. We made this for a friend’s birthday dinner and it was a hit.

Risotto all'Amarone with Wild Duck Soffritto and Morlacco Fonduta
8 ½ oz (240g) Carnaroli Rice
4 cups (8 dl) chicken broth
½ cup (1 dl) Amarone
1 ¾ oz (50g) Parmigiano, grated
1 ¾ oz (50g) unsalted butter
Duck Soffritto
2 wild duck breasts
1 shallot
½ cup (1 dl) Amarone
¼ cup (.5 dl) chicken broth
Mixed herbs (bay leaf, sage, rosemary)
Freshly ground nutmeg
1 ¾ oz (50 g) unsalted butter
Salt, pepper
Morlacco Fonduta
7 oz (200 g) Morlacco del Grappa*
1 ½ cups (3 dl) whipping cream
Salt, pepper
1.       Duck Soffritto – Eviscerate the duck and flame to remove all traces of pinfeathers. (Note from Marc: I just bought Muscovy duck breasts at the butcher for this. I am way too much of a sissy to eviscerate a freakin’ duck.) Cut the breasts into bite-sized cubes and sauté them in the butter along with the thinly sliced shallots and the herbs. Deglaze with the amarone and allow it to evaporate completely before adding the chicken broth. Allow to reduce for 2 minutes and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Keep warm.
2.       Morlacco Fonduta – Bring the cream just to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add the Morlacco reduced to small pieces. Mix thoroughly with an immersion blender until the sauce is fluid and homogenous. Salt and pepper to taste.
3.       Risotto – Melt half the butter in a casserole over medium-high heat and add the rice. Stir to coat and toast the individual grains. Deglaze with the Amarone and allow it to evaporate completely before adding the simmering chicken broth, a ladle at a time, as the liquid is absorbed by the rice. When the risotto has completed cooking (16-18 minutes), remove from heat, salt if necessary and blend in the remaining butter and the grated Parmigiano.
4.       Presentation – Divide the risotto among four serving plates, top with the duck soffritto and nap with the Morlacco fonduta.
*Morlacco del Grappa is a cow’s milk cheese produced in the Veneto and Friuli regions with a firm texture and a few widely distributed “eyes”. Its delicate flavor carries just a tinge of bitterness providing good contrast to sweet and fruity notes. Marc’s Note: I was unable to find this cheese at the local Italian market, so opted instead for a firm white cow’s milk cheese with a tangy “bite” to it, from the same region. The cheese I picked up (at DeLaurenti, for those of you on my recipe distribution list who live in Seattle) was Piave Vecchio, from Veneto.


Spice-Braised Pork Belly, Cornmeal Waffle & Quail Egg

Ok, this one takes some work but the results are soooooooo worth it. Another Star Chefs Rising Chef Award winner, Chef Joshua Henderson also used to be a chef-instructor at the Art Institute where I went to culinary school. Unfortunately, I never had him as one of my instructors. 

This dish was my favorite at the Star Chefs event, and I made it the next weekend. It’s one of those recipes that actually worked and ended up tasting just as good at home as it did in a restaurant setting. It's SO SO SO worth the effort.

Spice-Braised Pork Belly, Cornmeal Waffle, and Quail Egg
Joshua Henderson of Skillet Street Food – Seattle, WA
Adapted by StarChefs.com
February 2009

Yield: 8 Servings


Wet Brine:
1 gallon water
2 cups sugar
2¼ cups coarse salt
12 juniper berries
12 cloves
6 cinnamon sticks
12 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
4 pounds pork belly, cut into 6 ounce pieces

Spice-Braised Pork Belly:
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups sliced onions
6 cinnamon sticks
6 cloves
1 tablespoon allspice
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 quarts beef stock
1 quart apple juice
2 cups brown sugar

Cornmeal Waffle:
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoons salt

To Assemble and Serve:

8 quail eggs

For the Wet Brine:
Bring the water to a simmer. Add the sugar and spices and steep for 1 hour. Allow the brine to cool and add the pork belly. Fully submerge for 24 hours. Remove the pork belly and reserve for braising.

For the Spice-Braised Pork Belly:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small roasting pan, heat the olive oil and sweat the onions until translucent. Add the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and thyme and make a paste. Add the remaining ingredients and the pork. The liquid should come about halfway up the pork belly. Remove liquid or add stock as needed. Braise for approximately 2 hours, or until fork tender. Remove the pork belly and strain the braising liquid into a saucepot. Simmer and skim the foam and fat that accumulates while the sauce is reducing. When the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, check seasoning and set aside for service.

For the Cornmeal Waffle:
Preheat the waffle maker. Put all the ingredients in a blender. Cover and process at medium-high speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over-blend. Pour ½ cup of the batter over grids. Close the waffle maker and bake until golden. Repeat with the remaining batter.

To Assemble and Serve:
Fry or poach the quail eggs. Place a waffle on each plate and top with a piece of pork belly. Place an egg on each piece of pork, and drizzle with the reduced braising liquid.

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